Perseverance. It’s a long word that basically just means sticking with something.

The theme of skating and scootering is, I think, about the concept of perseverance.

Actually this is a concept that extends across all sports and even across all activities that require learning and practice.

I watch my son as he practices skating tricks over and over. Even when he hurts himself he keeps on practicing. He waits for a little while and then goes at it again.

We can be at the park for two and three and sometimes four hours as he practices tricks over and over. He doesn’t get bored. He doesn’t tire of doing the same thing over and over. He doesn’t give up when he keeps falling.

Sure, he gets frustrated. I’ve seen him throw his skateboard or scooter across the grass when he’s not making the progress he wants to make. But then he’ll go pick it up, sit down for a few minutes, take a drink, then stand up and start working on the trick again.

This is perseverance.  He is persevering and practicing in order to perfect the tricks.

This same kid is basically flunking algebra. He had midterms this week in algebra and I doubt if he studied once. I tried to facilitate that, but without much success.

He just hates algebra and he doesn’t get it and he doesn’t want to work hard to learn how to do it.

Contrast that with the skating that he loves. He will work hard to learn how to master a trick and he will do it over and over again and he will bear the pain of the falls that come with the practicing.

I guess that’s the way it is with all of the things that we hate to do. Unless they are of high priority to us, we will not show perseverance in trying to conquer them.

Things that we really want to learn, or things that we do as high-value or high-priority, we will invest in. We will invest our time and energy and focus. We will persevere and learn that skill or conquer that task. There is an end result. It’s worth it.

I keep thinking about my son and the algebra. There is a reward that should make it worth persevering to learn the concepts.

The reward is not having to retake the course. If my son fails algebra, he will have to take it in summer school next year. Or he will have to retake it next year.

Another reward is being able to stay at the school he attends. If he wants to stay at the school that he’s going to, he will have to either pass algebra this year or take it as a summer course next year and pass it then.

This particular school that he attends has minimum grade requirements . He cannot fail any course and stay at the school. For his sake I wish he was able to demonstrate perseverance and conquer algebra.

I know that the difference is that he loves skating and he hates algebra. Demonstrating perseverance is easier when you’re doing something you love. I just wish he could carry over his ability to persevere in skating to his algebra.